Smithsonian Museum to Install Henrietta Lacks Portrait - NBC4 Washington

Smithsonian Museum to Install Henrietta Lacks Portrait

Her cells have since contributed to the treatment of thousands of patients and many scientific breakthroughs, from the polio vaccine to genetic technology

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    K9, SWAT or Undercover?
    Kadir Nelson, Collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of African American History and Culture

    A portrait of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken without her consent and widely used in groundbreaking research, will be installed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

    The Baltimore Sun reports the portrait will be installed May 15. It was painted by Kadir Nelson and jointly acquired by the gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery

    Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951 at age 31 at Johns Hopkins University, where researchers discovered her cells reproduced indefinitely in test tubes.

    HeLa cells have since contributed to the treatment of thousands of patients and many scientific breakthroughs, from the polio vaccine to genetic technology, even as her family struggled without health care.

    Lacks remained virtually unknown until a journalist spent years investigating and writing a bestseller, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." 

    Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.